Abu Sayyaf dead?
President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against Abu Sayyaf has increased in intensity as his 30 June deadline to “finish off” the terrorist group draws near. A foiled tourist kidnapping on an island resort last month prompted Duterte to threaten a fullscale “invasion” of the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo. But some say the June deadline is deeply unrealistic. “All Philippine presidents have pledged to crush, defeat, destroy [Abu Sayyaf], from Estrada to Duterte,” Joseph Franco, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told
Southeast Asia Globe. “None have succeeded.” Franco said the problem was much deeper than Abu Sayyaf.
“If, tomorrow, [Abu Sayyaf] members suddenly all have a heart attack, a [new] group will emerge in the insecure milieu of Mindanao,” he said. “Jolo Island alone is known to have 100,000 loose firearms. Couple that with the lack of governance and you have the recipe for the emergence of a new group.”